(CNN) Throughout Olivia Thompson's 12-hour shift as a cardiac and Covid-19 nurse in Chandler, Arizona, she closely monitors the oxygen levels of several patients at a time and works with other medical specialists to heal them.
For some, no amount of care Thompson gives prevents them from being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.
"There were times where I was dreading going to work because of the unknown," Thompson said. "Am I going to be a good nurse for my patients? Am I going to make a mistake?"
Thompson graduated from Arizona State University in May 2020 and became a registered nurse in July 2020. She is now one of many Black nurses working on the frontlines of the pandemic in the United States.
Nurses are often the first medical professionals a patient will see, and most nurses have a great deal of contact with patients throughout their care, said Maysa Akbar, chief diversity officer at the American Psychological Association. In addition to the stress they face as medical professionals, Black people are generally more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness than White adults, according to Mental Health America.
Black nurses are also dying from the virus at a disproportionate rate. Almost 18% of the US nurses who have died from Covid-19 and related complications as of September were Black, but Blacks make up only 12% of the nurse population, according to National Nurses United.